In July 2020, the FBI conducted more than 3.6 million firearm background checks making it the third-highest month on record since 2 million in July 2019.
The year 2020 will go down as one of the most unusual, turbulent, and disrupting periods in American history. How we come out of it on the other side will have a lot to do with our ability to respond favorably to the conditions presented.
We have learned to social distance and improve our personal hygiene due to the pandemic. We have also learned the importance of self-protection due to the criminal elements taking advantage of the pandemic.
The rise in gun ownership in today’s society marks an increased emphasis on personal safety. As a result, more than 10 million guns have been sold in the past year, of which 40% are first time gun owners. Another 24 million Americans are likely to purchase their first firearm within the next five years.
First-time gun owners need training for their own safety and the safety of others. Concealed carry permits require an owner to have training. Just purchasing a gun requires no training. A gun owner without training on gun safety and shooting are dangerous as the criminals themselves.
Giving rise to the increase in gun ownership is the need to train new gun owners on how to properly handle and fire a weapon. Gun ranges have taken on a new role, expanding their presence across the American landscape.
Both indoor and outdoor gun ranges have a more defined purpose in today’s public marketplace. No longer are the ranges being used solely for sport, police, or military training but to train American citizens in the art of self-defense.
There are more than 18,000 indoor gun ranges in the United States. These ranges will vary in size, but will typically carry the shape of a long thin shoe box. A firing line is designated at one end of the range, while the targets are positioned at the opposite end of the room.
The key to the success of any indoor gun range is the need to protect the gun owner from excessive noise generated from the gun blast. Hearing protection becomes mandatory in all cases, with additional steps available to further reduce noise exposure levels.
A case in point would be a 9 mm pistol. At an indoor range, the impact of the gun blast will generate a reading of 160 decibels. The human eardrum will burst at 180. Care must be given to properly soundproofing an indoor gun range.
OSHA fined two gun ranges in Illinois for failure to protect its employees from lead and sound hazards. NIOSH, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health sets the recommended exposure for occupational noise at 85 decibels for an eight-hour period. NIOSH recommends steps to be taken for protecting employees and shooters from noise.
Sound panel systems are designed to retrofit into existing gun range facilities to help reduce exposure levels to the impact noise generated from gunfire. In particular, class A fire rated melamine foam panels are available that will capture and convert up to 80% of sound wave reflections, thus reducing exposure levels to the noise in a gun range.
Successful noise treatment is twofold. First, to ensure that you do not under treat the space3, and second, to ensure you are targeting a thick enough panel system to effectively capture and convert impact noise stemming from gunfire.
One such product on the marketplace is a panel system called FireFlex. This acoustic foam panel is class A fire rated, is easy to self-mount to perimeter wall or ceiling surfaces within a gun range, and will combine to capture and convert the unwanted sound wave reverberations that will otherwise spike your exposure levels to noise. The panels are 3” thick, light gray in color, and easy to self-install.
The gun range room’s dimensions will pre-determine how many panels you would need to reduce the sound insulate the venue. The goal would be to place the panels evenly down both walls of the gun range, the back wall behind the firing line, and the ceiling.
If the firing line is static, target the panel treatment down 1/3 of the range on all wall and ceiling surfaces. If the firing line is tactical, shooting from various distances, cluster your panels to match the various firing points.